by a.b.

I had the strangest moment today. My cell phone rang, and the Caller I.D. was a number I didn’t know. On the line was a very pleasant woman responding to a resume I had sent, offering me a job interview, which I promptly scheduled. Some might think that this would instantly cue the Hallelujah chorus while I did cartwheels around the apartment complex, but I just felt nauseous.

I’ve been unemployed since we moved to Portland. My husband was offered full time work here, and we jumped at the opportunity because we both experience better health here. For me, it was difficult to opt to be unemployed. It has been argued that I could’ve stayed in Las Vegas while my husband worked in Portland, and we did that for two weeks to orchestrate the move. The people that were around me then can verify that no one, and I mean no one, not Mother Teresa herself, could put up with me for any length of time without my husband. I get a little cranky.

Unemployment is really not what most people think it is. I’ve had people tell me how lucky I am that I get to sit home and be paid to “do nothing.” Nothing? I compulsively search craigslist every twenty minutes. I get to look at how unqualified I am to re-enter the professional workforce because I haven’t answered a phone in the workplace in three years. With unemployment hovering at a desperate 12%, I’m competing with people who are so ridiculously overqualified for positions that employers can almost request master’s degrees for secretaries now. I sit at home and find myself becoming more irrelevant with each passing day. I get paid unemployment to be ignored.

So one would think that this an interview would be wonderful? It’s scary to get the call, when you haven’t had one in weeks, to think, “Hey, I might have a chance, as long as I don’t jam my whole leg in my mouth.” I still have room to epicly fail, and then I’m still on unemployment. The nausea in my stomach came from the greatest question. Would you rather be ignored or told you’re inadequate?

Photo Courtesy of Kristopher Avila